Horizon 2020 is the EU's biggest ever research and innovation framework programme with a seven year budget worth nearly €80 billion. Launched in December 2013, the funding is intended to help boost Europe's knowledge-driven economy and to and tackle issues that will make a difference in people's lives. Calls under the 2014 budget alone are worth around €7.8 billion, with funding focused on the three key pillars of Horizon 2020 mainly ‘Excellent Science’, ‘Industrial Leadership’ and ‘Societal Challenges’.
The funding opportunities under Horizon 2020 are listed in work programmes published on the EU's digital portal for research funding, which has been redesigned for more efficient and paperless procedures. Participants will also find simpler programme architecture and funding, a single set of rules, and a reduced burden from financial controls and audits.
The 2014-15 calls include €500 million over two years dedicated to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a brand new SME Instrument. Gender aspects are expected to be included in many of the projects and there is funding to further stimulate debate on the role of science within society. There are also new rules to make 'open access' a requirement for Horizon 2020, so that publications of project results will be freely accessible for all.